Medan, Indonesia – December 2, 2023
In the aftermath of torrential rain, Sumatra, Indonesia, grapples with the devastating consequences of flash floods and a landslide that have left at least 12 people missing, according to officials on Saturday.
The catastrophe unfolded as tons of mud, rocks, and trees cascaded down from a mountain late Friday, surging into a river that burst its banks and swept through mountainside villages, revealed Budiono, the head of the “local search and rescue agency.” The village most severely affected by the natural disaster is Simangulampe, situated near the renowned Lake Toba in North Sumatra province.
In Simangulampe, several individuals are reportedly buried beneath tons of mud, and numerous houses have suffered damage, as described by Budiono, who, like many Indonesians, is known by a single name. Rescue efforts face substantial challenges due to blocked roads obscured by thick mud, debris, and large rocks. As of Saturday, rescuers were tirelessly searching for the 12 missing individuals.
Abdul Muhari, spokesperson for the National Disaster Management Agency, reported that a villager was rushed to a nearby hospital with severe injuries following the landslide that struck his house. The disaster has resulted in the damage of at least 12 houses, a church, a school, and a hotel. Approximately 50 families in the village have been forced to evacuate to a temporary government shelter.
Photographs released by the agency depict the extent of the destruction, showcasing homes, a church, a school, and a hotel buried under tons of rocks.
Authorities are currently in the process of gathering information about the overall damage and potential casualties, according to Muhari. Indonesia, comprised of 17,000 islands, frequently experiences flooding and landslides during the seasonal rain from October to March. The archipelago accommodates millions of individuals living in hilly regions or close to productive flood plains. Lake Toba, with a vast expanse of 1,145 square kilometers (440 square miles) and originating from a prehistoric super volcano, stands out as a well-known tourist spot on Sumatra Island. It constitutes one of Indonesia’s ten captivating natural attractions targeted by the government for significant development in the realm of global tourism. While dealing with the consequences of this natural calamity, the influence on the realization of these developmental goals remains uncertain.